First of all, what is Smurfing in League of Legends? the term “smurf” has become very popular in the league community, and it refers to the action of playing games in an elo you don’t belong when you are skilled enough to be in a higher rank, which typically is on your main account, but use alternative accounts to smurf, for different reasons.
There has been a lot of discussion about this topic, whether smurfing should be allowed in the game or not, we know sometimes it is a bit stressful or infuriating to be playing against a smurf because you are trying your best to play good and win the game with your team, but the person in the other team that is smurfing just rolls all over your team and yourself due to the skill gap in between, and since League of Legends is a game where you can snowball with the smallest lead if you play situations correctly, smurfs become pretty much impossible to beat once they have gained a lead or an advantage over your team.
Sometimes they already won by stomping their lane even if you are not matched against them, because games like that tend to be so short that you don’t even have time to react and make the comeback, even if you win your lane, their advantage can’t be matched. Smurfs typically duo with another person or friend of the same level, so they win games easier and faster so they can jump onto the next game and continue dominating games.
Why do people smurf? You may ask, and there are many reasons why they do it, some of them are considered acceptable among the community, and some others are considered unfair. For example, some of them do it to play or “help” low elo friends, or just to have fun dominating games against players that are not as skilled as they are, to try new champions without any stress, etc. but the main reason is to boost accounts, level them up or getting high ranks to sell them, which the community and the developers are against.
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Are There Any Consequences to Smurfing?
Doing this does not go against the game’s policies, and that is why it is not prohibited. High elo and some professional players tend to openly do this, even on stream with thousands of people watching, just for the sake of having multiple accounts in Challenger. An example of this is Jesper Svenningsen, better known as “Zven”, who, a few years ago used to be both rank 1 and rank 2 on two different accounts at the same time on the NA server.
Another example of this is TFBlade, who also has multiple accounts he plays to reach Challenger, and used to go to different regions for his goal to reach this rank in every server. It is true that on their way to reach Challenger they have to go through lower ranks, affecting the players they play against, but what differentiates these types of players and why it is not punished by Riot Games, is that they don’t do it with malicious intents, at the end of the day, anyone is free to create another account and play on it as long as you agree to terms of service, and since League is a free to play the game, there is pretty much no limit on the accounts you can use for this purpose, and most of the times they do it for the whole purpose of climbing the ladder again once they are at the top of the server.
In the streaming world, taking an account from bronze to the highest rank possible is pretty common for the sake of content, and often they do it with some kind of special restriction, like using only 1 or 2 champions, only playing a certain role, to reach high ranks with the least amount of games possible, or trying to maintain a win rate higher than 85-90%.
It is worth mentioning that lately, smurfing has been more and more popular in the league community because it is another way of having fun when you already reached your peak rank. Many players give up on trying to climb once they realize they are hard stuck so they begin to rank with new accounts just to have this feeling of climbing the ladder again, and not stressing very much as they do in their main account, because as your secondary account, it is not as important as your main one.
It is also recommended to not rank at the beginning and the end of seasons if you want to avoid smurfs at all costs, as there tend to be more people doing it. The reason why is because, at the start of the season, players are placed on lower ranks than what they ended the season before, which, depending on your placement matches, you may end up coming across some of these players that are trying to quickly climb the ladder to be the first ones to claim the rank 1 challenger spot. You could say this is a bit more “natural” because it is something that will most likely happen on your journey at the beginning of the season.
At the end of the season, it happens frequently too, many players tend to start ranking in a hurry when Riot announces that season’s rewards, and players try getting to the highest rank possible to obtain these rewards such as the loading screen border, the victorious skin chromas or the golden recall channel for being in Challenger. This is when elo boosting services are at their peak as well because of this, increasing the number of players smurfing that you may face.
Riot has been addressing this issue for years now, and while they can’t punish players that do not have malicious intents, they have improved their rank system so it detects when players are not in the rank they belong, based on their win streaks, KDA, and some other algorithms, to have them to climb the ladder faster and affect as few players as possible.
This is what they had to say during a Q&A about smurfs:
“Smurfing always sucks, especially when you have rank on the line. While it’s hard to stop smurfing entirely in a free-to-play game, we are taking action to combat it. Right now we have a behind-the-scenes system for unranked as well as one that applies to Iron through Diamond ranked players. The latter tracks an individual’s performance and notices when a player makes a highly disproportionate impact in a game. We then quickly boost them to harder matches and higher ranks in Competitive.”
So, what does the community think about this? as mentioned before, there are mixed opinions on whether it should be allowed in the game or not, Some say smurfing does not hurt anyone as it is natural to face players that are trying to climb to the rank they deserve and inevitably they have to go through yours, but on the other hand, many other players say that smurfing ruins the game experience for some low elo or new players because they are getting destroyed by more experienced players.
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The answer to the question “Is smurfing bannable in League of Legends” is, Yes, it can be bannable if the person doing it is reported for being toxic for it, and if Riot Games detects that they are doing it with the only intention of ruining other players games. So if you ever feel like creating a second account to smurf, be aware that it can be punishable if you do it with bad intentions, and ruining another player’s experience is not a good thing to do.